WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is urging Mississippi residents to contact state lawmakers to express their opposition to a bill that would change over-the-counter cold and allergy remedies containing pseudoephedrine to prescription drugs.
CHPA said that it has provided a phone number for Mississippians to contact legislators (1-866-346-8118) as well as a web site (www.StopMethNotMeds.org).
In a survey conducted for CHPA this month, almost two-thirds of Mississippi voters polled said they oppose making common cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine available by prescription only, and 74% agree that such a requirement would create an "unnecessary burden" for law-abiding citizens.
Late last month, the state’s House passed H.B. 512, legislation that would impose an prescription-only mandate on commonly available cold and allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine, CHPA said, noting that the move came without a public hearing and that identical legislation is pending in the Senate (S.B. 2339).
"Should this legislation pass, it would place an unnecessary burden on families, significantly increase consumer costs and hurt the state’s finances at the worst possible time," CHPA stated.
CHPA claimed the state’s lawmakers are overlooking an effective solution to the problem of methamphetamine abuse that also would preserve ready consumer access: a real-time electronic tracking system for pseudoephedrine purchases at the pharmacy or service counter. The association said e-tracking is successfully being implemented across a growing number of states and that two-thirds Mississippi voters surveyed indicated that they support such a system for their state.
"Mississippi’s voters agree this is not the right way to address meth. As states continually find themselves in dire financial situations, policy makers must balance efforts to regulate ingredients used to create meth with the public health and economic consequences of restricting access to important cold and allergy medications. Electronic tracking is one such solution that eight other states have adopted to fight domestic meth production while maintaining consumer over-the-counter access to these products," CHPA president Linda Suydam said in an earlier statement on the issue.
"An e-tracking system is a tool that law enforcement and pharmacists can put in place to stop the sale of illegal amounts of pseudoephedrine as set forth by the Combat Meth Act," Suydam noted. "With this real-time tracking system, states can also link up with other states to track cross-border sales. For instance, neighboring Louisiana has plans to implement e-tracking starting in March. Additionally, e-tracking would be implemented at no cost to the state. the makers of pseudoephedrine-containing products would purchase and maintain the system for Mississippi."